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Analysis of the sulfate-reducing bacterial and methanogenic archaeal populations in contrasting Antarctic sediments

Purdy, K. J., Nedwell, D. B. and Embley, T. M. (2003) Analysis of the sulfate-reducing bacterial and methanogenic archaeal populations in contrasting Antarctic sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69 (6). pp. 3181-3191. ISSN 0099-2240

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1127/aem69.6.3181-3191.2003

Abstract/Summary

The distribution and activity of communities of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and methanogenic archaea in two contrasting Antarctic sediments were investigated. Methanogenesis dominated in freshwater Lake Heywood, while sulfate reduction dominated in marine Shallow Bay. Slurry experiments indicated that 90% of the methanogenesis in Lake Heywood was acetoclastic. This finding was supported by the limited diversity of clones detected in a Lake Heywood archaeal clone library, in which most clones were closely related to the obligate acetate-utilizing Methanosaeta concilii. The Shallow Bay archaeal clone library contained clones related to the C-1-utilizing Methanolobus and Methanococcoides and the H-2-utilizing Methanogenium. Oligonucleotide probing of RNA extracted directly from sediment indicated that archaea represented 34% of the total prokaryotic signal in Lake Heywood and that Methanosaeta was a major component (13.2%) of this signal. Archaea represented only 0.2% of the total prokaryotic signal in RNA extracted from Shallow Bay sediments. In the Shallow Bay bacterial clone library, 10.3% of the clones were SRB-like, related to Desulfotalea/Desulforhopalus, Desulfofaba, Desulfosarcina, and Desulfobacter as well as to the sulfur and metal oxidizers comprising the Desulfuromonas cluster. Oligonucleotide probes for specific SRB clusters indicated that SRB represented 14.7% of the total prokaryotic signal, with Desulfotalea/Desulforhopalus being the dominant SRB group (10.7% of the total prokaryotic signal) in the Shallow Bay sediments; these results support previous results obtained for Arctic sediments. Methanosaeta and Desulfotalea/Desulforhopalus appear to be important in Lake Heywood and Shallow Bay, respectively, and may be globally important in permanently low-temperature sediments.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10850
Uncontrolled Keywords:16S RIBOSOMAL-RNA, TARGETED OLIGONUCLEOTIDE PROBES, COASTAL, MARINE-SEDIMENTS, METHANE PRODUCTION, VERTICAL-DISTRIBUTION, ANOXIC, SEDIMENT, SALT-MARSH, SP-NOV, HYBRIDIZATION PROBES, PROFUNDAL SEDIMENT

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